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6 Examples of Minimum Viable Products That Effectively Prioritized Time to Market

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6 Examples of Minimum Viable Products That Effectively Prioritized Time to Market
Author: DuploCloud | Wednesday, April 5 2023
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From Facebook to Amazon, these startups are great minimum viable product examples for your own business

If you want to bring a new product to market, nothing beats having something ready and waiting to show off to customers and investors. That’s why it’s vital to have a minimum viable product that anyone can try immediately — not only will the baseline experience generate interest, but it will produce critical feedback for future iterations.

Many of the most successful tech companies in the world, including Facebook and Amazon, make a great minimum viable product example for enterprises that want to start lean and build on success. Let’s take a closer look at these examples and what we can learn from them:

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6 Minimum Viable Product Examples

Airbnb

Amazon

Facebook

Foursquare

Fortnite

Zappos

Build Your Next Minimum Viable Product Faster

6 Minimum Viable Product Examples

Airbnb

Airbnb is the platform that discovered how to crowdsource room bookings, disrupt the hospitality industry, and earn billions in the process. In 2008, however, this example of a minimum viable product was just a website featuring a single location — the founder’s apartment.

When Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia discovered that the San Francisco hotel market was saturated, they decided to earn extra rent by turning their living room into a bed and breakfast for designers. After purchasing air mattresses, creating a simple website, and making themselves available to convention attendees, they earned $240 for three guests — and realized their idea could be something more. So they partnered with an old roommate, Nathan Blecharczyk, and expanded the concept into a streamlined online platform where anyone could list their private property or book one for a short-term stay.

Despite initial rejections from investors, the team succeeded by pitching Airbnb to people who needed it most: out-of-town guests. When marketing the concept to 2008 Democratic National Convention attendees, they gained the attention of programmer Paul Graham, who invited the team to his startup incubator. Thirteen years and a $113 billion valuation later, Airbnb remains one of the biggest success stories in modern tech.

Amazon

Amazon was always an online marketplace, but before it became “The Everything Store,” founder Jeff Bezos intentionally limited its scope. While researching business opportunities for the hedge fund D.E. Shaw, Bezos compiled a list of products that could be profitably sold using the internet. When the firm rejected his proposal, he decided to go independent and trimmed his list to a single category. This approach let Bezos develop a brand around one product type, maintain low costs, and scale operations as the company grew.

Amazon’s example of minimum viable product ultimately focused on books — a plentiful, low-cost product with universal market demand. To keep costs down, he brokered book sales using distributor listings, ordered a copy with each purchase, and delivered it to customers. Within two months, Amazon was earning $250,000 every week, allowing the company to develop first-party warehouses and distribution centers. The rest is history.

Facebook

Today’s social media platforms are global brands, connecting millions — if not billions — of friends, families, and followers. In 2004, Mark Zuckerberg and Eduardo Saverin were far more focused on the student demographic. Facebook’s minimum viable product template was an exclusive online directory for Harvard University attendees, inspired by the paper-based “face book” produced by Harvard staff.

This narrow focus had several benefits. First and foremost, it allowed Zuckerberg and Saverin — Harvard students at the time — to evaluate the platform’s reception first-hand. Second, the scope was much easier for a small team to manage, especially when half of Harvard’s undergraduates joined in a month. Finally, it let Facebook scale its team and scope as interest grew, adding new staff to facilitate access for other universities, businesses, and eventually the general public.

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Foursquare

Foursquare is a search-and-discovery app that lets travelers look up nearby businesses, but in 2009, it lacked the infrastructure to build such a platform. Instead, Foursquare turned the minimum viable product lean startup model on its head by acquiring the customers first.

The initial Foursquare app let users share their location with friends and family by “checking in” from local businesses. This gamified process encouraged users to log their activities regularly, quickly generating entire databases on urban hotspots in 100 cities. Foursquare used this version of the app to gain users and drive investor interest until it pivoted to the search-and-discovery model in 2014.

Fortnite

Fortnite is a cultural powerhouse that’s home to high-profile musical acts, hot intellectual property crossovers, and a new metaverse for the next generation of creators to show their stuff. But its current legacy started as a humble side mode for a long-in-development online game about fighting zombies.

When Fortnite creator Epic Games noticed the rising popularity of “battle royale” style games such as PC-only PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, it empowered employees who were fans of the experience to quickly build and release their own take on the genre using Fortnite’s existing assets. By moving quickly, Epic was able to beat its competitors to the essential console video game market. Half a decade and billions in revenue later, Fortnite stands as an excellent minimum viable product example.

Zappos

Online shopping is so ubiquitous today that customers can instantly look up prices on just about anything from their smartphones. But, in 1999, investors weren’t entirely confident that a web-based purchase market existed. Zappos founder Nick Swinmurn proved his case by taking pictures of shoes at his local mall, listing them online, and buying them personally once a customer made a transaction.

As a minimum viable product example, Zappos was far from cost-effective. However, what it did accomplish — outside of proving the online shopping market existed — was kickstart a platform without initial support from investors. Later fundraising helped Zappos grow into a profitable brand and, eventually, an Amazon subsidiary.

Build Your Next Minimum Viable Product Faster

Each of these companies paved the way for designing minimum viable products, but doing so in today’s competitive, tech-forward environment can be challenging. That’s why DuploCloud created a low-code/no-code automation solution that speeds cloud provisioning by 10x while reducing costs by 75%. With this solution, it’s far easier for startups to make their product available to customers within a framework that accommodates cloud regulations and best practices. Book a demo to see DuploCloud in action today.

Author: DuploCloud | Wednesday, April 5 2023
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